It’s Japanese music week here on ☆ai love music☆! I swear it won’t be the case with the next post, I swear! It just happens to be the week that the Queen of Japanese Hip-Pop and my idol, Namie Amuro, released her new album “_genic”.
Has Amuro really had a dull moment ever in her career? I don’t think so. She has always dazzled many with her catchy “Hip-Pop” (a mix between hip-hop and pop) dance tunes, fashion trends, and her ambitions of always going forward. She continuously raises the bar every year in any avenue of work she does. And, that’s what I like about her. So, when Amuro announced that she was releasing a new album, I was really interested in what new concepts would she bring to the music world.
(Author’s note: I will write more about Amuro’s impact in the musical world, Japanese culture, and even in my own life when I do a write-up about the 20th anniversary of her debut single, “Body Feels EXIT”, last this season. )
Namie Amuro Going Global
One of the latest trends in Namie Amuro’s music is worldwide influence. Over the past five or so years, Amuro has been singing more in English, recording in various international hot spots like Los Angeles and London, and started to enlist more non-Japanese producers to help create her songs.
One example of this is a duet with French singer David Guetta on a duet version of his hit song “What I Did for Love”. Many have speculated that Amuro is getting ready for an American or even possibly a worldwide debut in the near future. Maybe it will happen or maybe not. Who knows? Even if she doesn’t get an American recording contract, Amuro Namie is still a legend whether you live in Japan or anywhere in the world.
Taking a Closer Look At _genic
Before we jump off the bandwagon off with wild speculations, let’s come back and take a look at three songs from the new album entitled _genic, Even though the album didn’t feature any singles, it was heavily promoted on her official site, and the video site Youtube with various videos. The first track showcased was “Fashionista”.
The song starts off with a strong start, featuring a baritone saxophone, an electric organ, and a fierce rhythm. But, what the song is lacking is powerful vocals. If you listen to the chorus, Namie Amuro’s vocals are weak enough for her to struggle through the song’s fierce personality. Maybe it wasn’t her or the label’s intention to have “Fashionista” be the “it” song vocal-wise. Instead, the song bows out to the stronger player, the music video, as it just focuses on Namie’s ethereal beauty as she wears colorful outfits in a black and white world and dancing in between yellow laser beams.
“Golden Touch” is a perfect summer song that could be passed off as a distant cousin of an Ariana Grande tune. I do question Wikipedia sometimes and how it came up with the argument to classify this song as an “old-school “Beyonce–esque” R&B”. How can that be! Which song from Beyonce’s or Destiny’s Child’s discography does “Golden Touch” remind you of?
Besides that, “Golden Touch” is a cool summer-y piece that doesn’t use electrical instruments too excessively. The bass section of the synthesizers is used perfectly as they accent the downbeat of each measure. What also fits perfectly is Namie Amuro’s vocals. This is the type of upbeat song that can aid her voice and create a pure harmonization, especially when she hits the nasal sections.
Sadly, I did not like the video at all. Sure, it did have a cool concept and stunning visuals. But, didn’t you get bored after a while, just having your index finger pointing to one section of the screen? I did. And, I really wished I could touch, or at least experience the feelings of touch, Amuro’s finger at the end of the video. Just touching a computer screen that has Amuro’s trying to touch your finger doesn’t cut it.
But, congratulations to Namie Amuro. “Golden Touch” was featured on an American radio station! The song was part of the lineup on a recent episode of Jenna Marble’s Youtube 15, which is on SiriusXM’s Hits on 1. I wonder if “Golden Touch” will be Namie’s guide to the American music market…
(…which could happen because the song is a peeeeeeeeeerfect summer song that resounds the current American music tastes and last year’s summer hit, Ariana Grande’s “Problem”.)
The last song I want to talk about is “Anything”. When I was reading up on the numerous album reviews all over the internet, this one written on KPopBreak made me think a lot about this song when the author E.T. compared it to TLC. Because the author is right, it actually does! Doesn’t it remind you of “Unpretty“? Both songs feature lyrics of girl empowerment, using the same acoustic instruments, and similar melodic and rhythmic structures in the chorus.
But I do have to give “Anything” some credit. It’s a pretty ballad with a strong message and got some great vocal action and decent English pronunciation from Namie Amuro. Furthermore, ballads have always been Amuro’s strong point and “Anything” furthers that point with her soothing and strong timbre.
The album features ten other songs that I will not review right now because I don’t have a lot of time to do a full, in-depth review. (It’s already 1 am here and I have work in the morning.) Nevertheless, _genic doesn’t really impress me from what I heard on Youtube. It has some decent songs but it isn’t as memorable as her 2012 album Uncontrolled, which is one of my favorite modern-day Amuro albums.
How did you enjoy _genic? Do you think Namie Amuro has what it takes to release an album in America? Let me know in the comments!